Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Cover or Surround? Sub Plan - Section 2: Warm Up


I really like this type of question that requires students to take a stand and focus on the explanation versus the final answer. My students respond really well to these, because there is less pressure on getting the exact right answer. However, I think my students came to me with so little background experiences with area and perimeter that this lesson fell flat, especially with a sub. I fear that when two concepts are learned together, as area and perimeter often are, they are more likely to get mixed up. 

This lesson was meant to help my students think about the concepts contextually. I had kept hearing them say things like:


  • "area is when you multiply"
  • "perimeter is just adding"
  • "area is multiplication"


They were trying to remember the math of area and perimeter and not the meaning and I was afraid they had learned it procedurally. I also didn't know how much time pressure had played into their knowledge gaps. I don't know if they had been given the opportunity to build concrete representations of area and perimeter in contextual problems. 

To do it over again, I think I would start with contextual problems supported by manipulatives. I would start with just one of the ideas, area or perimeter, to try to untangle them in my students' minds. I would use square tiles for area with the context of floor tiles and something like popsicle sticks for building a perimeter fence. The important thing is that the contexts are comprehensible to my students and that the manipulatives help reinforce the concept. I think these opportunities are crucial to building understanding, because there is nothing inherent in the vocabulary terms that suggest their meaning, so it has to be built with experiences. I fear that it may take more time to teach this way, especially if I am 'undoing' misconceptions, but my greater fear is that the misconceptions will persist if I don't spend the time. 

  Undoing rote learning
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Undoing rote learning
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Cover or Surround? Sub Plan

Unit 10: Exploring Area & Perimeter
Lesson 3 of 16

Objective: SWBAT determine when it is appropriate to use area or perimeter measurements and calculations.

Big Idea: Students begin to see the difference between linear one dimensional measurement and two dimensional measurement.

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Math, Geometry, areas, perimeter (Determining Measurements), area of rectangle, argumentation, perimeter
  54 minutes
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